Saturday, April 03, 2010

Comet Then and Now

Comet now.
Comet with his brother Jedi, as kittens.Molly, Comet's mom, provided by Diane of Corvallis.

Comet was one of 16 kittens I took from the carport and behind trailer 52 at Heatherdale trailer park. Trailer 52 was then occupied by an old woman, whose daughter and son were, at the time, though middle aged, very much into heavy drugs. But the daughter had a big soft spot for cats. She got the one cat, now with a friend of mine in Corvallis, at SafeHaven. At that time, SafeHaven did not fix most cats and none of the kittens prior to adoption. The cat went on to overpopulate the entire area, having litter after litter after litter. She was pregnant once again, when I got her fixed. I think she sighed a huge sigh of relief when she was finally spayed and relieved of that horrible burden. Having kittens born to suffer and die in carports and under trailers isn't a nice thing on a mother, barely noticed or fed herself.

Molly was adopted by an old man, who loved her until he died. Then my friend, Diane, who lives next to the where the old man lived, took over Molly's care. Thank you Diane. Comet is one of Molly's kittens.

Trailer 52 was in the news again, recently, because of a shooting at Heatherdale that occurred at Trailer 52, I believe, or at least bullets struck Trailer 52. A man climbed into a tree and tried to shoot someone, allegedly his ex girlfriend, through the wall of the trailer. However, since he moved out, she had moved in a TV, placed against the window and the TV is what saved both her and her latest boyfriend, who also had warrants out. The new boyfriend was struck by a bullet that lodged in his head but did not do any real damage. Mr. attempted murderer is in jail.

My back was failing me that summer. I could barely walk even a few feet. I was trying my best to get all the cats at Heatherdale fixed before the inevitable occurred. The inevitable was, I knew, inability to walk at all. I had been trying without success to get any sort of diagnostics done on my back. The only thing I could get covered, I was told, was attendance at a chronic pain class in Lebanon. I thought that was quite visionless, of the local OHP HMO, run by Good Sam. I thought that because I couldn't even get diagnostics done, to see if it was something fixable.

My big break came when I was suddenly switched to medicare and for six months, I wasn't under a medicare HMO. Freedom!

My back was fixable, diagnostics confirmed, but in very dire shape. I had a long term severely extruded disc hardened over and crushing a nerve. By then, I had no nerve reflex left in my right knee. I was going to lose most nerve impulse to my right leg, then I'd lose my leg. I had surgery, had to. The surgery saved my leg and ability to walk. It's why I'm a neurosurgeon groupie. I'm a big fan of neurosurgeons. I have reason to be.

It's also why I am so darn suspicious of HMO's and their intent. Back diagnostics was listed as a covered service, in my plan, and yet I was refused repeatedly. Cost saving measure, but was it really? I had an operating room nurse friend, who works in the Portland area, who told me over and over it was covered, that they fix poor people's backs all the time up there. Even those on OHP.

She said if nothing else, I needed to move out of the valley, out of Good Sam's OHP HMO coverage area, then I could get helped. I was set to do that because otherwise, I was going to be in a wheelchair. The pain was bad enough and of course I was not eligible for any sort of pain relief, for whatever reason, I guess because I was poor. I have no clue, just was happy God intervened and the switch to medicare and the window of opportunity when not on any HMO.

I digress. Right when I took in those 16 Heatherdale kittens my back was failing, so it was hard to find homes for them, while trying to finish up getting all the cats fixed before my back made that completely impossible. Comet fell through the adoption cracks and is still with me! He's a beautiful big bobtail guy, who buddied up with another bobtail, Cattyhop, from the Slaughterhouse colony kittens. She too was the only one of a half dozen or more very very ill kittens from that colony, who, in the end, did not get a home.

My back issues remind me of a movie I rented a few weeks ago. I cannot even remember the name of the movie. The movie was about a poor family in Iran, struggling to survive. The woman had a bad back from a ruptured disc and wanted surgery on it, like a neighbor woman had, which had relieved the neighbor woman's pain, this woman argued to her husband. But the husband would have none of it, and claimed he thought she'd die if she were to have surgery, but he was really a louse.

So the woman suffered from the pain and still had to try to keep up with cooking and cleaning. The husband would scream at her if she had to defend the family to the landlord there for rent money. There was no respite for women there, that was for sure. The movie was really about the two children, a boy and a girl. The boy had taken his sisters' very worn shoes to be sewn again, but he lost them on the way home. Thereafter, to avoid being beaten by their father, the children hide the fact they have only one pair of shoes between them, that they share. The girl wears her brothers sneakers to school, then races home as fast as she can, and he puts them on and runs to school.

The scenes are artistically shown and beautiful, despite the harshness of the reality of the family's lives.

On a swap day at the mosque, the man of the family picks up a spray pump filled with insecticide. He then takes his son to the big city, on the handlebars of his old bike, to seek employment for the day by knocking on the doors of the rich. The man has no luck knocking on doors and asking for work to spray the trees, but the boy finally tries at one house. Another little boy answers the buzzer and demands they come in, because he is lonely and lives with his grandfather. While the two boys play, the man sprays the trees in the large courtyard and does a few other chores for which he is paid a small fortune.

Together they head home on the old bike, celebrating this windfall, making big plans for making more money, when, on a steep hill, the brakes fail on the old bike and they crash. The bike is destroyed and they must hitch a ride home, all their money gone.

The boy enters a foot race after trying out at school for it. The third place prize is a new pair of shoes. He is determined to come in third, to solve the children's hardship of sharing one pair of old sneakers. Many boys in the race are well equipped and supported. Nonetheless, his anger and hardships drive him to win the race. He is terribly disappointed as he watched the third place winner get the coveted shoes.

When he arrives home, he tells his sister he did not come in third. From his efforts in the race, however, the one pair of shoes they share now has detached soles. And that is the end of the movie.


  1. I am curious - what, if anything, did he get for his first place win?

  2. A trip to a camp or something like that.

  3. with no shoes to wear there...sigh...